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Euclid Mission: European Probe Set to Illuminate the Secrets of the Dark Universe

Date: June 24, 2023

Euclid, a groundbreaking space mission designed to study dark matter and dark energy, is nearing its highly anticipated launch date. The European probe is scheduled to embark on its mission from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on July 1 at 11:11 a.m. EDT (1511 GMT). The launch will be streamed live on, allowing viewers worldwide to witness this momentous event free of charge.

The primary objective of Euclid is to map and analyze the vast expanse of the dark universe with unprecedented precision. By doing so, scientists hope to gain insights into various cosmic phenomena, including the early growth of the universe, the formation of galaxies, and the puzzling acceleration of the universe's expansion.

Artist’s concept of the Euclid spacecraft.

"Dark energy and dark matter reveal themselves by the fairly subtle changes they make to the appearance of objects in the visible universe; otherwise, we don't know about them," explained René Laureijs, the Euclid project scientist, during a livestreamed briefing by the European Space Agency.

One of the key techniques Euclid will employ is gravitational lensing, which allows distant objects to become visible by studying the gravitational effects caused by foreground objects. By operating in deep space, specifically at the Earth-sun Lagrange Point 2 (L2), Euclid will have an unobstructed view of the cosmos, enabling it to capture these gravitational lensing effects with unparalleled clarity.

Euclid boasts two specialized instruments—one focused on infrared wavelengths and the other on visual wavelengths—that will work in tandem to survey vast portions of the sky. By observing the subtle effects of dark matter on visible objects, scientists aim to map and model the distribution of this elusive cosmic substance.

"The field of view of the telescope is half a square degree of the sky at a time; that's really big if you compare it to the Hubble Space Telescope, and huge if you compare it to the James Webb Space Telescope," said Will Percival, primary science coordinator for the Euclid space mission at Canada's University of Waterloo.

During Euclid's commissioning period, expected to last approximately eight months, including transit to L2, the mission will meticulously test its instruments and systems. Assuming a successful launch and commissioning phase, full operations are projected to begin around April 2024. Throughout this period, Euclid will gradually unveil its initial images, including those of well-known nearby objects, to showcase its capabilities and engage the public in this exciting scientific endeavor.

Euclid's ambitious mission is slated to span at least six years, during which it will survey an astounding 15,000 square degrees of the sky—a feat never before achieved. The wealth of data collected by Euclid holds tremendous potential for groundbreaking discoveries, with scientists eagerly anticipating the identification of new classes of celestial objects and unexpected revelations.

As the countdown to the launch progresses, the scientific community and space enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await the commencement of Euclid's mission, which promises to shed light on the mysterious dark universe like never before.

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